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Can you imagine seeing seven of the world’s 15 species of cranes in one morning? There is only one place on earth where this has ever happened, a most remarkable, and most threatened, place – the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that divides the hostile Korean peninsula.
Can you imagine seeing seven species of cranes in one morning?!? Today our group visited the remarkable Cheorwon basin of South Korea near the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean peninsula. Cheorwon is renowned for the large concentrations of wintering Red-crowned and White-naped Cranes that feed on waste grain in this agricultural landscape – one of the very best places to see these two endangered species.
This year I have been privileged to experience four springs in Wisconsin (USA), Hokkaido (Japan), Amur Region (Russia) and the grasslands of Mongolia.
In late November, I traveled to the Hermit Kingdom (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – DPRK) to provide ICF support for the work of my excellent colleagues at the State Academy of Sciences and the farmers at two important wintering sites for Red-crowned Cranes.
Wow, what a time we had! From Heather Henson’s thrilling Celebration of Flight, to Dr. Jane Goodall’s inspiring words for the conservation leaders of tomorrow, our 40th Anniversary Gala stirred the heart. Whether you joined us in Milwaukee, or in spirit, each of you — our sponsors, members, supporters, and partners — made possible the wonderful achievements we honored.
In 2011 a pair of Red-crowned Cranes kept at Muraviovka Park laid their first eggs! We had been waiting for this day for a few years. The male, Kivili, was four years old in 2008, when a one-year old female, Oka, arrived.
In early December 2012, ICF co-organized with Beijing Forestry University an international crane workshop in Beijing and Hunan Province, China. Following the workshop, the Crane Specialist Group developed a Call for Action for the “Protection of cranes and wetlands through sustainable agriculture in Northeast Asia.”
The following are notes from my October 27-November 8, 2012 visit to North Korea. I was the guest of North Korea’s foremost ornithologist, Dr. Park U Il of the State Academy of Sciences (SAOS), with whom ICF has been working since my first visit in 2008. From our base at the Pyongyang Hotel, we traveled to three important sites for Red-crowned Cranes.
In early June as the sun peeped over the horizon about 6:00 a.m. to brighten the distant hills of China, White-naped Cranes lifted from the early morning mists that often cover the great marshes of Russia’s Muraviovka Park. They flew silently into the light to reach a last year wheat field on the elevated terrace near the headquarters of the Park, to feed on leftover grain.